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World trade is expected to grow by a modest 4.7% in 2014 and at a slightly faster rate of 5.3% in 2015, the World Trade Organisation says.
Although the 2014 forecast of 4.7% is more than double the 2.1% increase of last year, it remains below the 20-year average of 5.3%. For the past two years, growth has averaged only 2.2%.
The sluggish pace of trade growth in 2013 was due to a combination of flat import demand in developed economies (0.2%) and moderate import growth in developing economies1 (4.4%).
On the export side, both developed and developing economies only managed to record small, positive increases (1.5% for developed economies, 3.3% for developing economies).
“For the last two years trade growth has been sluggish. Looking ahead, if GDP forecasts hold true, we expect a broad-based but modest upturn in 2014, and further consolidation of this growth in 2015,” WTO director-general Roberto Azevêdo says.
“It's clear that trade is going to improve as the world economy improves. But I know that just waiting for an automatic increase in trade will not be enough for WTO members.
“We can actively support trade growth by updating the rules and reaching new trade agreements. The deal in Bali last December illustrates this.
“Concluding the Doha round would provide a strong foundation for trade in the future, and a powerful stimulus in today’s slow growth environment. We are currently discussing new ideas and new approaches which would help us to get the job done — and to do it quickly.”